I’ve been in the construction game for a long time and I’ve been selling projects for years and I’ve made just about every mistake there is that you can make when it comes to selling jobs and getting new clients. Today, I’m going to share with you five reasons why you might not be making as many sales as you should be:
1. Nobody knows that you exist.
Lack of awareness. You could be the best contractor in the world, you could be the best salesman in the world but if nobody knows you exist then no one can possibly hire you, right? So how do you you make sure people know that you exist?
One way is promoting yourself. If you are a one-man show or you’re just the head of your company and you’re the only person that’s going to be able to promote your company then that has to be one of your main priorities. You can use business cards, road signs or yard signs, logos on your truck, t-shirts, and have a website as well as be on Google maps. Being in places where people look online is critical.
You can even be asking your customers, “Hey, do you know anybody that needs my services?”. You have to be promoting yourself, if you don’t have any work coming in or if you don’t even have any opportunities coming in then promotion is where your efforts need to be.
2. You don’t respond fast enough when people reach out.
So, this is one of the most common ones I see and it makes sense and I’ve been there before. You’re on the job and you’re working, you’re getting phone calls but you don’t want to be answering your phone all the time but that’s probably costing you jobs. Especially if you need work. You should be answering the phone and you should be calling people back right away or should be texting them if they don’t answer and leaving voicemails. You have to be very persistent in order to get through to people.
The moment that someone finds you online or whatever and they reach out to you that’s the moment to strike. If you call them back an hour later, they’re probably in a different headspace. Maybe they’re at work, maybe they’re picking their kids up whatever. That might not be the right time to talk about it for them. So if you only call them back one time and you never hear from them again the mistake is on your part. You need to be calling them back until you reach them. The best thing to do is just to answer as soon as they call.
3. You don’t follow up.
This goes hand in hand with the last one. If somebody doesn’t answer, you gotta keep calling them. Call, text, email… Do everything you can to get through to them. Then, after you give someone an estimate, you follow up with them. If I need work, I’ll be following up with them every single week. Giving them a call, shooting an email, shooting them a text asking if they have any questions. Asking where they’re at in the decision-making process. Letting them know that I haven’t forgotten about them and that I want to do their job.
You have to find a balance with this but if you’re afraid of annoying someone or afraid of coming off desperate, that’s not a good reason. If you need work you should be following up with people. There have been times where I follow up with somebody after like six months and they actually thank me for following up and then they hire me. So, follow-up is just part of the sales game. Statistically, it takes seven follow-ups to reach the average lead, the average prospect and that’s across many industries. But the point is the sale is in the follow-up. So if you’re not following up now you better start doing it.
4. You’re bidding too low or too high.
Bidding too high that’s an obvious one, right? There are a lot of contractors out there who purposely knock down their bids because they feel like it’s too expensive and they really want the work. I advise against that. When you bid on projects you should be bidding on them based on cost and then the margin that you want to make on it. Straight across! You shouldn’t be lowering bids or lowering prices on every bid or estimate just because you’re afraid of not getting the job. And sometimes it’s possible to bid too low.
Believe it or not, there are people out there who have a budget in their mind and are really high-end clients. They know what they want and if you come back with a bid that they feel is too low, they’re just going to assume that maybe you don’t really know what you’re doing. Or maybe they wanted a $100k kitchen, not a $50k kitchen. So, it is possible to bid too low that’s why I highly recommend having a scientific approach to bidding.
You run out all your costs, you add your markup so that you can get the margin and the profit that you want and that’s the price, plain and simple. If somebody pushes back on you, you have a solid foundation on which to hold your ground and say that’s the price take it or leave it.
5. You’re coming off as unprofessional.
This could be tied in with any of the other things that I just said. If you show up in an old beater truck with no logos or in just a regular rag-tag shirt on and you’re 15 minutes late but you didn’t call to let them know that you were late… And, for example, if it took them a week to get a hold of you. then you’ve already kind of lost the job at that point unless this person has no other options.
So, it’s super important to pay attention to all the details. Always come off as professional and be consistent about it. It should just become who you are. You answer the phone, you return calls right away, and you always show up on time if you can’t show up on time you let them know ahead of time. You get their estimates in the amount of time that you say you will. Your estimates must be priced right. All of those things put together will give people a good feeling about you. If they have a bad feeling about you, if you come off as unprofessional, they’re not going to hire you no matter what. So, you might be losing the game before you even get started.
The last one, I know I said five but this one’s really important and I think a lot of contractors just never think about this. And that is that you’re going after the wrong customers. Who is your ideal customer? When you look back at all the people you’ve ever worked for, think about who are your favorites and why are they your favorites.
I suggest getting out of pen and paper and listing out the reasons why you really liked working for them or you really like doing those jobs. And then go after those kinds of clients. Be willing to say no to clients that don’t fit the situation that you want because every job that you take has an opportunity cost. If you take one job you’re saying no to another one. And even if you’re feeling a little desperate don’t let that dictate your decisions all the time. Because figuring out who you really want to work with and finding ways to work with more of those kinds of people or on more of those types of projects will eventually transform your business into something that is really awesome. And that makes you the money you want and that has you doing the things that you want to do.